Search

SustainableBelieving

This here is a blog about sustainability – which is something we believe in. We are Nikki (vegan and health nut) and Erika (human rights advocate), both trying to good one step at a time!

 Sustainability can mean a lot of things and therefore this blog does many things. But there will be some regulars:

Wednesday means a tinyecostep from Erika – easy things you can change today.

Sunday comes with a warderobe update by Erika – with finds from sustainable stores, second-hand and homemade pieces.

Any day can mean health and vegan posts from Nikki, keeping you up to date with her life.

Scroll down to find what has happened so far.

Featured post

School has started (soon)

Long time no see

A lot has happened since I last wrote a post. I have quit my job at the 4H farm and started studying at KTH Royal Institute of Technology. I have started a five (omg like eternity long) year program which will make me an engineer in biotechnology.
I am currently in my first week, out of two, of the program initiation.
So I am getting to know a lot of new people at the same time and trying to get a perspective of where everything is at campus.
I am enjoying myself a lot and we will see how everything feels when school starts for real, after the initiation.
This is a hard subject with a long way to struggle through, a very nice and fancy school packed with super smart people.
All these factors make me doubt myself a bit.
It also gives me fire, fire to start school and learn, to get more knowledge and maybe be able to make an impact on the world in the end.
Biotechnology is a broad subject, where you can start focusing on almost anything and trying to make it more sufficient.
There are two paths, one which leans more to the environment and the other is more about health and medicine.
I was at a lecture two days ago, where this professor told us about his work with finding a cure to breast cancer. After his research he actually found a new way of diagnostics for breast cancer, which they actually use at hospitals.
Another professor told us about her profession in polymers and her work with plastic and trying to reduce it.
She and her partners have started a seaweed plantation where they use the cellulose in the seaweed and modify it in to plastic resembling materials, which are just as to compost as which ever plant.
How cool isn’t this subject!
And there are millions of other ways in this field to start researching and finding solutions for making more sustainable.
Only your lack of curiosity and your imagination can stop you.

An easy wrap

This summer I did my first zero-waste wrapping. It turned out better than expected.

For wrapping papers I used a food magazine for its pretty pictures. It looked much nicer than using newspaper, which are a thinner material, has more advertising and can leave ink impressions. I used a paper based twine to tie it together. I´m quite happy with the results though it was hard to keep the paper down and in place while adding the twine.

The couple I gave it to sadly threw the paper in the normal trash can, along with the twine (which they cut instead of opening), so it wasn’t recycled or reused yet another time. I wasn’t fast enough to stop them, but next time I will try to be before they open. The more usage the better, especially for the twine since it’s not harmed in any way during the packaging.

DSC_0793

To do this you just need: magazine paper, scissors, twine and fast fingers.

Good luck!

Looking for new shoes – sustainable brands

I need new shoes. My current one are pretty broken so it’s clearly time for new ones. I must admit I have a lot of shoes, just not good shoes that I can actually use everyday and walk well in. I have to major problem when buying shoes: I have wide feet, I need to be able to fit my insoles, I easily get blisters, they need to be comfortable to walk a lot in and they need to fit with dresses. High-maintenance I guess. And now, I decided that I want socially sustainable shoes, preferably with ecological or reused materials.

For shoes that are suitable spring to autumn, I’ve been browsing four brands to choose between. They’re basically different sneakers.

  • Ethletic and their fairtrade converselike-sneakers. They pride themself on being vegan and using sustainable materials such as cotton grown without pesticides and chemicals, and natural rubber. They also prioritize social sustainability and work on projects where the workers together use part of their wages toward a common goal such as education, healthcare, micro-loans etc. They look nice, and white or black pair does work really nice with a dress.
  • Solerebels with their ethiopian-styled shoes. An important question for their business is fair wages and they pay four times the legal minimum wage in Ethiopia, plus they have full medical coverage for their workers and cover transportation to and from the factory for all workers. They do not base wages on quotas but instead treasure a fair and good working environment. I’m looking at their runaround freedom shoe in denim blue. They’re beautiful but maybe not perfect for dresses.
  • Indosole have repurposed soles from car tires and the shoe is hand crafted. They are a B Corp, meaning they’re pretty much fairtrade and take care of their workers. I’m checking out their JJ Shoes. But they do look a bit to pointy for my feet, so it is not my first hand choice.
  • Veja, sold though Green Laces, is my fourth consideration. They use responsibly grown cotton, without pesticides or chemicals, grown by a plethora of families and fairtrade. They produce on demand and do not have a stock that can go to waste and constantly review ways they can minimise their environmental impact. Veja works with manufacturers in Brazil and are paying a over minimum wage while working to improve workers conditions. I like these, they look super comfortable and soft, but I don’t think it will work with dresses or my style of clothing.
  • SkråmträskSkon, made in sweden with vegetable tanned leather. They are five people working in the company, doing the entire process at side and with pride. I love their shoes, they look wonderful and I think they would be really good for my feet. However, I am looking for a pair that is good for summer and nice weather. These are more an autumn, winter kind of shoe. Perhaps I will order a pair later, but not today.

After consideration on which ones would work for my feet, go well with dresses and resonates best with my social interests, I’ve finally decided on Ethletics dark blue sneakers. I will tell you how they work for me later.

A new effort: Sunday Wardrobe

I love clothes and fabrics. I love looking pretty and I love feeling comfortable. I love finding that perfect outfit and trying out new things. But I hate shopping (it feels crowded) and I hate the concept of fast fashion where there is always something new to try. As a human rights advocate and believer in social sustainability I’ve tried to move further and further away from big brands and companies that give little insight into their process. I do my best to buy only second hand and or things I´m given.

This is often a bit restricting. So I´ve decided to look more into slow fashion – brands that invest in themselves socially and take responsibility for their workers. Often with the added benefit of using better materials. If you’re into sustainable fashion I hope you have checked out some awesome slow-fashion bloggers from your area, otherwise you should. If you are interested, you should also check out documentaries like The True Cost on why we need slow fashion.

So, for the coming year I challenge myself to buy slow and sustainable fashion, freshly produced and second hand. I will document this journey through this blog every Sunday with a little Sunday Wardrobe piece. As an extra challenge, I´m taking up my gradually-ok sewing skills. I´ve made some stuff before but now it’s time for more. I have a few things in mind for this year, so let’s see how it goes!

A must-do tiny eco step

An easy and necessary little step to take is changing your plastic water bottle to a metallic or glass one. The next step it to actually use it and refill it. If you, like me, live in a country where tap water is clean and drinkable this is a must-do.

My metallic bottle is one I got a long time ago from 4H but did not use regularly until recently. Today it goes with me everywhere. I love that it has a carbine and can hang on my bag, otherwise I would have to leave it behind a lot.

Which kind of bottle do you use?

The little things

The other day I shared a post on a study of carbon emissions, showing us that the little thing don’t matter if you don’t do the big things. But that is not the complete truth. The little things matter less for global warming through global emissions of CO2, but it matters in other ways. Our environment still care. Plastic for example is still harmful for us as people, for animals as litter, for lakes as litter and microbes. Production of cotton and food is still plagued by pesticides harming both environment and people. Forests, seas, land, animal and people are still harmed by the way we live, carbon emissions or not. That’s why the little things matter. That is why I continue to care about sustainability, and know I can make an impact through my tiny eco steps.

Does it matter how many green alternatives I try?

There is an infinite amount of way to limit your impact on the environment. The never-ending question is of course how effective the alternatives are. Can you really make a difference?

I constantly wonder how my actions affect the environment. Does it matter that I didn’t recycle that thing properly? Does it make a difference that if I buy ecological or not that time? Infinite questions.

This is going to be long, but stay tuned! It’s important!

This june a study was published in IOP science, based on other studies, reports and recommendations in an attempt to determine which every-day actions are the most effective to reduce greenhouse gas emission.

They recommended four so called high impact actions.

Having one fewer child. Every year this would lessen a person’s impact with 58.6 tonnes CO2.

I don’t think I’m ready to consider this but that is one HUGE number to be sure. When looking into this, it is counted on each parent being responsible for half of the children’s future CO2 impact based on current numbers, plus a fourth of the grandchildrens emission etc. Thus, in theory this could be much less by teaching your children to live more environmentally friendly (if they never had a car either this number would be much lower for example). Buy removing national emission this should also be 17 times lower according to the study.

Living car free. Each year this would save 2.4 tonnes CO2 every year.

20170728_181152

Woho! I score in this department! But I don’t know how borrowing a car time to time affects this number. Anyhow, it’s counted from the amount counts production, maintenance and fuel. This clearly show that reducing our transportation habits would make a huge difference – from catching the train, to walking or car-pooling.

Avoiding airplane travel. For every transatlantic roundtrip it saves 1.6 tonnes CO2.20170729_211606

Not all flight as transatlantic and probably lots shorter in time which would limit its effect. So lets say 1 tonne CO2 per roundtrip in general. Problem is, this means you probably choose other alternatives and thus affect in some regards.

Another challenge to this is that it is pretty much expected that you will travel by plane for your vacation. It’s seen as some everyday luxury that you can fly away for that awesome vacation. The challenge here is to change the common idea of vacation and moving it closer to home or by getting there by train.

Eating a plant based diet. Each year this saves about 0.8 tonnes CO2.

20170730_202756This compared to a meat diet counting emissions from fertilizers, livestock and transportation. I guess I am saving up fairly good in that department, and Nikki even more so. I still use dairy products and such, which I should make an effort to transition from to minimize emissions.

Smaller things

In the study they compare this with things such as recycling which is apparently four times less effective than removing meat from your diet. There goes that hope. Keep in mind though that even though recycling might not have the biggest CARBON impact it can matter a lot in the amount that is unnecessarily burned or the amount that is successfully reused. That in itself is a victory, carbon footprint or not. Still, it is staggering that the tiny steps I try to take matters very little if I don’t do the big stuff.

My carbon footprint

As I’ve understood from the study one individual need to limit their yearly emission to under 2.1 tonnes CO2 if we are to reach the goal of keeping climate change at 2 degrees. Thus, you can eat meat and fly one time a year and then use nothing more – no car, no children, no lights or any products. Or you could use a car, and then use nothing more. Or you could have a child, and then you can do nothing more for your entire life that has any emissions. You get the picture.

So to keep within limits, I would choose not to fly. For vacation I would probably take a car instead, but rented and shared with at least four people – so say that’s at least half of the emission saved. And no meat, but still daiary (let say I save half of it), while keeping recycling and choosing the right light bulbs. So in theory, I could minimise my carbon footprint with 0.4 +1.6 + 1.2 + 0.3 = 3.5 tonnes per year. That is at least pretty impressive, and probably means that I’m under the necessary emission levels. So that is something to aim for.

.. but what about the little thing?

Using a tote bag, recycling, choosing better materials, re-using clothes, minimizing my shopping. Does it matter? I guess not if you don’t do the big stuff. It doesn’t matter how many of the little stuff you do if the big stuff is still done. If I keep flying my imprint is just too huge for recycling to matter. That kind of sucks. Like it’s all a waste to try.

But it should be the opposite – it means we know that we have to focus on the big stuff. If we start there, all the little things will come to matter too. If I don’t fly or use a car and can eat plant based at the same time, the little things start to matter too. This just means that I know where to start.

And mind you, the little steps matter in other ways to. They are important for a sustainable world in many ways, just not the most effective to limit carbon emissions.

 

The perfect Reuse

This summer, there have been a few dinners out on the balcony. We have quite a small balcony and no room for a table (I have to many plants too). In a stroke of genius I realized that the balcony jar thing we got for my birthday is a perfect plate holder! Look at that – it’s like it was made for it!

I love it when things can be reused and repurposed, whether is simply though usage or a small DIY-process.

 

 

A cup of awesomeness 

Another period-related tiny step I´ve taken is using a cup. And I don’t think I can say enough kind things about it. I´m using it as I write and it is simply so easy.

I saw an article the other day that a normal pad contains the same amount of plastic as 3 or 4 plastic bags. I didn’t look into it so I don´t know the sources, but there is for sure a fair bit of plastic in them. Along with other materials, and blood of course, making it hard to recycle. Thats pure waste when we have good alternatives: cloth pads.

I think the largest objections I’ve meet when speaking about cloth pads is that is outside your body and gets a bit gross. This then is the same people that  wouldn’t wear a regular pad either since it’s outside the body. I´ve always found tampons scary – it’s a bit of treated cotton you put inside you. I hate the feeling – when it’s full it swells and becomes really uncomfortable. When its not full enough it’s hard to get it out because it’s all dry. And when you put it in its all dry aswell, making it less than comfortable.

This is where cups win. They are neither dry or super heavy. They are easy to get in a variation perfect for your vagina – small or large, hard or soft, tall or short. I find them super easy to put in, and they are more comfortable to keep in there – I don’t feel them at all. Plus, I can take it out anytime without any harm.

Plus, the optimal worth of course: they can be reused for several years. No more buying tampons and throwing used one out – creating even more waste. It feels more sustainable since it’s something I know creates less waste. Also, having something that is reused and last a long time feels awesome in it self. And that feeling is great. Not only can I be comfortable during my period, but I can feel that I’m actively minimising my environmental footprint every day. 

Create a free website or blog at WordPress.com.

Up ↑

%d bloggers like this: